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Keynote Presentations

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Harvey ChochinovDignity in the Terminally Ill: New Insights and Opportunities in Palliative End-of-Life Care

Harvey Chochinov, MD, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry, Community Health Sciences, and Family Medicine (Division of Palliative Care), University of Manitoba, and Director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit, CancerCare Manitoba


How do we ensure that dying patients maintain their sense of dignity until the very end? To begin, one must appreciate how the terminally ill understand the notion of dignity, and what factors undermine or maintain dignity for those nearing death. This talk will address these issues, using clinical illustrations and research data, highlighting therapeutic considerations for patients nearing end of life. An empirical model of dignity will be presented, along with the rational for Dignity Therapy – a novel, brief intervention specifically designed to maintain the dignity of dying patients and their families. There is mounting evidence demonstrating the efficacy and role of this approach in the context of palliative care. Both quantitative data and case examples will be used, illustrating how Dignity Therapy can influence sense of dignity, purpose, and meaning; along with preparedness for death.

Following the keynote presentation, Dr. Chochinov will sign copies of his books (available for sale during the conference) or bookplates for those who have his books at home.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Kevin O'NeillThe Empty Sky and the Politics of Mourning: The Loss of the 9/11 Dead and Their “Return” on CSI

Kevin O'Neill, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Philosophy, University of Redlands


On September 11, 2001, more than 2,800 people died in the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Fewer than 300 intact bodies were recovered. More than 1,100 people disappeared without a trace. The rest were recovered in fragments. Almost 20,000 of these remain in storage at the as-yet unopened 9/11 Museum.

I argue that some of the work of mourning for these lost dead has been done, indirectly, on the three CSI series, in which murder victims are recovered, examined and reintegrated into the society that lost them. One way we have dealt with the trauma of loss is by fictionally rediscovering and redeeming these lost dead, in an act of collective fictional mourning that is as televisual as the original tragedy.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Katherine ShearPathways of Grief: Clinician as Sherpa Guide

M. Katherine Shear, MD
Marion E. Kenworthy Professor of Psychiatry in Social Work, Columbia University School of Social Work


Bereaved people often find themselves in new and unfamiliar territory. To navigate this new landscape requires confronting dual challenges of acknowledging the reality of the death (i.e. its finality and consequences) and re-envisioning a purposeful life that has the possibility of satisfaction and joy. There is no map for this journey, but people need companionship as they make their way. Some people turn to a clinician for guidance. This presentation suggests clinicians conceptualize themselves as Sherpa guides, becoming experts in the terrain and serving as porter and guide for the traveler.


Gold Supporter / Conference Bag

San Diego Hospice

Gold Supporters

TAPS Baywood

Silver Supporter/ Conference Pen

Marian University

Silver Supporters

Forest Lawn USC Social Work

Bronze Supporters

Our House Grief Support Center Baylor University The Compassionate Friends National Alliance for Grieving Children